The Ashes – Fourth Test, Day 3: A Cook’s Tour de Force

Had a rare treat this morning pre-day three being involved with Cricinfo preparing a video on 2 Mildura boys.  The Walder brothers or should I say the Walder twins.

Melinda Farrell and I had been working on getting the boys together for an interview about their involvement in cricket over the years.  Robert and James between them have seen more than 300 Test matches around the world.  Yes, 300 plus Test matches.

Given that they are aged 77 and they have this unbridled love for the game it is no wonder that the bachelors have spent the last 40 years travelling the world to envelope their passion.

When you talk “cricket” with the Walders they mean Test cricket and Test cricket only.  They don’t regard the Adelaide day-nighter as a Test Match.  Get the picture?

Last year they received their provisional membership of the MCC which thrilled them immensely and they look forward to sitting in the members tomorrow.  They have worked it out that they will have full membership when they are 92!

The boys are just two of the seven Walder boys who made up a Merbein team one year with their two brothers-in-law.  The seven boys all batted left hand which must be unique in the annals of cricket at any level.  By the way their dad umpired those games as well.  What chance did the opposition have?

The interview was hilarious and you might be able to catch it on Cricinfo in the next 24 hours. Farrell believes it could go viral given the answers the boys gave during the thirty minutes of cricket talk. Do yourself a favour (thanks Molly).


Root (49) and Cook (104) start the day diligently against an attack who were making the ball move just a bit.

The cricket was very slow as England where determined to not lose a wicket early.

Root (61) did it again.  Just when he looked to go on with a big score he hooked at Cummins and was easily caught at square leg by Lyon.  England 3/218.  If ever a player disappoints you it is Joe Root who angrily threw his gloves over the boundary on his departure.

The play was not that interesting as the bowling was tight and the batsmen were not as free flowing as yesterday.

Malan on 14 is given out LBW to Hazlewood. The ball has palpably hit the bat first!   No DRS from England.  Incredible stuff.  England 4/246.

Bairstow comes out and is immediately on the attack.  The bowlers had tied Cook down and the keeper has taken it on himself to be more positive in his approach.

At lunch Cook is on 134 having only added 30 for the morning and Bairstow 16.  England 4/264

Honours even.


What will England do from here?   The tail is long and they will be looking for Cook and Bairstow to take control and push the score along.  Otherwise they could be trailing when it is Australia’s turn to bat. For the second time.

Unfortunately for England Bairstow (22) tries to play a back cut but the ball is too close to his body from Lyon and Paine takes it very cleanly indeed.  England 5/279.

Moeen Ali, who is on a hiding to nothing, takes matters into is own hands and hits out at Lyon and quickly rattles to 20.  He was trying to follow Cook’s intent from yesterday. Non-AFL state player Pat Cummins badly misses him deep in the outfield and it took AFL state player and Shinboners fan Shaun Marsh to snavel one high above his head.  Ahh! The influence of the AFL.

Meanwhile Alastair continues his penultimate Cook’s tour.  Stopping at every station refuelling and continuing his slow journey towards retirement.  It has been pleasant travelling with him even though some of the view has been boring.  His ability to hit fours with very little effort is supreme and a worthy addition to every Cook’s Tour Guide.

Cook (173) and Woakes (26) carry the score through to tea, England 6/360.


As in the whole series the tea break brings a player undone.  Woakes, without adding to his score goes to hook Cummins, the ball does not come on and Paine takes a simple catch. 7/366.

Curran (4) does not last long and he nicks one through to Paine from Hazlewood.  England 8/373.  Cook is now on 182 and he will need to hurry along if he is to reach the coveted double century that he deserves.

Broad is in all sorts of trouble and it is hard to reconcile that this is the same player who has a top score of 167 in Test cricket.  He seems to have lost the ability to bat completely. He gets to double figures but I don’t know how.  Some how he stays but will he help Cook to his double century?

One of the real beauties of test cricket is waiting and watching a player head towards a milestone.  So, it is with Alastair Cook now on 190.  There is hush and expectation over the crowd now even though they have been well lubricated by now (4.35pm) waiting, just waiting, counting every run and hoping Broad does not get out. He straight drives Lyon beautifully for 4 = 195. A single 196.

He is now 197 with an ever-increasing confidante in Broad holding his own .

It is now drinks.  Cricket has its own shock treatment for 60,000 patient patients. Another single for 198 Broad follows suit.

STAND UP EVERYONE!  A beautiful (how many times have I said that?) straight drive for 4 brings up a marvellous 200 from 361 balls and 23 fours.

The partnership continues on past 50 and Cook as has been the case throughout this innings has been the minor scorer in the big partnerships.

Broad continues to improve (see 6 paras above) and a fifty is within his grasp. The 5 inches between your ears certainly is a marvellous “thing”. If he was a racehorse Broad would be swabbed by now.

England now lead by a respectable 124 runs with still 13 overs to go today. They are certainly well on top.

One can’t help but marvel at Cook’s endurance.  Been there since ball one yesterday, under extreme pressure at the time and still going strong.

Broad reaches his fifty and the hundred partnership comes up next ball in 85 minutes from 107 balls. Broad scores 56 and Cook 44 in the partnership.

Broad is out controversial but brilliantly caught by Khawaja at third man from a miss hit from Cummins.  Broads 56 came from 63 balls in the 100-run partnership.  England 9/475. We will never know whether he caught it or not.

The Army have been in great voice today and sometimes it is a pleasure to listen to them.  Their ability to finish a song in unison, given their numbers, is exemplary.

Well the day has ended with England 9/491.  Alastair Cook 244 (27 fours) and Anderson 0.  Lyon, Cummins and Hazlewood 3 wickets each.

What a day for Alastair Cook.  Magnificent and he is still going. He played shots all around the wicket in what was a masterly display and it was a pleasure viewing it.  It was a Cook’s Tour to delight even the most fastidious traveller.

England now lead by 164 and we can look forward to another great day of Test cricket tomorrow.



About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Peter Flynn says


    Gatherer of runs.

    I’ve run out of superlatives.

    Smith is a shit captain.

  2. PJF – one of the best innings I have witnessed from someone with his back to the wall.
    Steve Smith if his strike force is down makes no changes like M.Clarke or M.Taylor would have.
    Himself or Warner ” Don,t think just do something, just DO something”
    By the way did you see K.O’Keefe in the cavalcade today? That’s another story.

  3. See you tomorrow Citrus – a wonderful reflection once again.

    Sad I missed today now, but gee day 2 was a treat. Cook, simply stunning. The way he was striking the ball, so crisp, so clean, you just had a feeling something had finally clicked. I’m glad. He is a champion.

    The next two days will be glorious. Can’t wait.

  4. JB – at 78 I am pretty much Joe Rooted after a day at the cricket. So I will be an apology for “afters”.
    I use Tom Wills Statue as my gathering point. Will be there at 12.50pm on Friday if you would like to catch up for a minute.
    Wonderful to see that gifted pianist AN Cook in action. He played all the right keys (notes).

  5. Peter Flynn says

    Most words in the English language can’t be applied to Cook.

    Gatherer yes.

    That’ll do.

  6. I’ll pop along for a word Citrus.

  7. No that won’t do. Citrus I do have to hold you to some account. Not much coz I’ve had a skin full.

    Australia on a dry lifeless pitch made an underachieving and complacent 324. A disappointing total. In the second innings of the Test a batsman makes a double 100. Hardly backs to the wall. Your flawed assumption is that Cook was about to be dropped or his position is in peril.

    Citrus you need to understand the Bayliss dynamic and lens. Get very chummy with the senior pros. They’ll support him in return. England lose most overseas Test matches. They lose a lot of cricket matches. It’s a cliche. It’s harder to get out of the side than in the side.

    For me backs to the wall is Atherton in SA, Ponting at Old Trafford, Slasher at AO.

    Cook is to congratulated on his achievement.

    Cook is a limited player. His success is limited to a certain environment. A placid, droll benign environment. Check his record out on pitches that have bounce and life.

    Always good fun Citrus.

  8. Hey Citrus, I want to see the video of the Walder brothers, but cannot find it on Google or ESPNcricinfo. If you could write a brief article that gives a link when it comes up that would be great.

  9. Richie Benaud’s wives were both his secretary first? First wife Marcia in an accountant’s office in Sydney. Then Daphne who was a PA to reporters in London when Richie joined the BBC.

  10. I look forward to seeing that video, Citrus.

    By the way, Melinda Farrell is good for cricket.

  11. Gentlemen – I am wearing a vial check shirt under the beige jacket.
    PJF – refer to Marin Vaas . Will do some work on on the pitches where Cook has made runs. GATHERER is word perfect, will use it in future and speak to the Surgeon of Crowthorne to include in the OD.

    6% – Melinda went home very unwell yesterday but I will chase it up and advise people when it is up.
    PB – you are heading in the right direction with your answer. As Peter Cundall would say “It’s your bloomin’ luck”
    Smokie – hopefully will see Mel today and let her know
    Trivia question again for those who may not have seen it – Richie Benaud’s wives had/have something in common. What is it”

  12. PJF – just read your missive again. I believe the senior pro’s are half, no three-quarters to blame, for England’s poor performance on this tour.
    One up on everybody – they have just removed Richards 207 from the Members bar. Long live the Cook!

  13. Sorry that should have read 208

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